Property in Hemsby, Heacham and Caister is still amongst the most popular for buyers in Norfolk – and the UK in general, it appears.
This summer, popular property portal Rightmove named all three villages in their top 5 list of popular locations in the four nations which had seen the biggest price rises.
By June, the average property in Hemsby had increased in value by 22 per cent, from £221,533 to £270,144 year-on-year. In Heacham the jump was 20 per cent and in Caister it was 12 per cent. The latter was also the third most searched-for seaside village on the portal’s site.
Last year’s rise in property prices for England as a whole was 10.2 per cent, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). That brought the price of the average property to £285,000.
In Norfolk as a whole the rise last year was slightly less than the national average at nine per cent, but the cost of the average property was higher – at £297,274.
@rightmove: “The majority of sales in Norfolk during the last year were detached properties, selling for an average price of £379,601. Semi-detached properties sold for an average of £249,477, with terraced properties fetching £219,264.
Overall, ‘sold’ prices in Norfolk over the last year were up 9% on the previous year and up 16% on the 2019 peak of £257,027.
Lockdown constraints and the ‘race for space’
The main cause for the huge interest in the three villages – and Norfolk in general – is, of course, the ‘race for space’ brought about by families feeling constrained during the various lockdowns wrought by the pandemic.
Last year country retreats (or, at least larger homes with big gardens) and properties near the coast became the most sought-after destinations. To the extent that a Nationwide survey at the beginning of summer last year indicated one third of people who planned to move were willing to do so to another town or village. Around 30% said their intention for moving was to have access to outdoor space and, preferably, a garden. This easily made Norfolk – with its flat plains and seas – a destination of choice.
Families and couples who had already been contemplating the move, were spurred into action by Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Stamp Duty Holiday. This meant buyers of homes valued at £500,000 or less didn’t have to pay any Stamp Duty. For those who bought property over £500,000 they saved a maximum £15,000. The scheme was introduced in July 2020 and extended to September 2021 in England and Northern Ireland (Scotland and Wales’ schemes ended earlier).
A local newcomer’s point of view
Local hairdresser Sam Ward, 47, moved to Hemsby from busier Basildon around six years ago. She is a stylist at the town’s salon, The Beach Cut.
She said: "I think with the pandemic… and a lot of people working from home, they are able to move here and live by the beach”.
"We cut a lot of holidaymakers' hair as well as locals. A lot of people say it's their dream to be able to move here”.
"It was my dream to move here and I've never regretted it at all. It's really friendly," she said.
Rightmove’s director of property data Tim Bannister confirmed the company had seen a huge change in the type of location potential buyers were looking to move to.
He said: “Our data clearly shows continued demand from buyers looking for villages and rural locations outside of traditional major cities… buyers are looking for that perfect village location by the sea, and which is [of course] supporting price growth in these areas.”
All three of the villages mentioned at the start of this article - Hemsby, Heacham and Caister – are near larger towns or cities, which means newcomers don’t feel isolated and there are amenities nearby, such as shops and entertainment venues. Hemsby is near Great Yarmouth for instance, with shops within a 15-minute drive. It’s also recognised as a ‘dog friendly’ village.
And, in fact, Norfolk as a whole is considered very much dog-friendly. Last year, during the pandemic lockdowns 3.2 million households bought a pet (with dogs the most popular). That’s according to the Pet Food Manufacturers' Association.
Property prices to increase this year too
Property analysts insist house prices will rise this year too – although not to the same extent as last year. The increase they say is due to the fact demand still far outstrips supply.
The Nationwide Building Society is estimating the price increase to be around the three per cent mark. A similar figure is predicted by property portal Zoopla, while upmarket estate agent Hamptons throws their cap into the ring at a slightly higher three and a half per cent. Only Halifax is predicting a lower increase of just one per cent.
For more insights into the property market in Norfolk, if you’re looking for your dream home or are looking to sell a property, get in touch with our team today.